McMillan’s Codex #53 by C.T. McMillan
Metal Gear Survive (Trailer Analysis)
There is no denying my Hideo Kojima bias. I like his awkward but compelling writing, how he separates story from gameplay, and the pseudo-realistic aesthetic. Even as I grow cynical I still like what Kojima has done. While I cannot abide by Konami’s treatment of him, I try my best to remember that there are always two sides to a conflict. Perhaps the company had a good reason for sacking Kojima and destroying his legacy. We will never know the whole truth, but what I know for a fact is Metal Gear Survive looks like trash.
I am sure there are worse trailers, but I cannot recall any that come close to the mediocrity of Survive. I have no idea if these qualities will translate to the final game because no one, including hardcore fans of Metal Gear, will buy a copy. If first impressions are critical, and Metal Gear Survive has committed suicide.
The trailer starts with footage from Ground Zeroes, a demo and prologue to Phantom Pain in which Big Boss travels to a black site in Cuba before his army of mercenaries is wiped out. The footage shows the every end where Boss escapes the sinking wreckage of Mother Base. Then there is a change of perspective to Random Soldier that is left behind before he is sucked into a portal in the sky.
He reappears in a desert environment where zombie-like creatures with unicorn heads attack him. He fends them off with a pipe before other living people come to his aid with bows and spears. When the zombies are dead the group takes Random Soldier to a cliff overlooking the ruins of Mother Base. Then there is a cut to the group fending off unicorn zombies gathered at a fence surrounding the ruins. They show off a specific and nonsensical rocket powered arrowhead that spins and drills into zombies.
Why would you put rockets on an arrow that will not work unless you score a hit first? You know how difficult archery can be in tense situations like a zombie attack? You could miss your shot and waste this totally impractical armament. At least with explosive arrowheads there would be splash damage in the event you miss. The trailer ends with the group looking up to the camera rising above them before something roars off screen, possibly a metal gear.
What makes the Survive trailer bad is the lack of theatrical finesse. From watching so many trailers, specifically announcement trailers, each one is structured like a short film. There is usually a story and the protagonist’s actions show off gameplay. Take for example the announcement trailer for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. While the actual story is not the same as the final game, the trailer establishes the theme of cyborgs becoming an oppressed minority, and new augmentations that influence gameplay.
The Survive trailer does not show anything about the story past the setup. I could accept that if the rest of the footage was not so clinical about showing off gameplay. Right after Random Soldier gets to the ruins, there is a montage of what weapons you will use, including that impractical arrowhead. The whole scene takes place in the same location with no other environments shown. There was no reason for taking such a matter of fact approach unless the editor was too lazy to apply some form of theatrics or the available footage was already terrible.
I can only talk about the Metal Gear Survive trailer for so long because there is nothing to analyze. The footage reeks of low effort and even less faith in the project. I imagine Konami wanted to shove this out to let everyone know they are still making games. They have so little hope in their own game they did not even try at proper promotion. If a company does not care about one of their products, why should you?